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Linde 1Q profit falls 28 percent to euro115 million

Linde 1Q profit falls 28 percent to euro115 million

German industrial gas company Linde AG said Tuesday the company's net profit fell 28 percent in the first quarter as demand for its products and services waned during the financial crisis.
The Munich-based company said net profit in the January-March period fell to euro115 million from euro160 million in the first quarter of 2008, while sales for the period fell 7 percent to euro2.7 billion from euro2.9 billion.
"The global recession which began in the fourth quarter of 2008 has continued unabated into the first quarter of 2009," the company said in its report.
"There are currently no indications that the remaining part of the year will see any sustained reversal in general economic trends.
"Only if there were a significant improvement in the global economic environment as the year progressed would it be possible for group sales and earnings to reach the same level as in the prior year," the company's statement said.
Linde engineers and builds chemical and gas plants and produces gases, including hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and argon, for medicine, industry and science.
The company said first quarter sales in the gas division fell by more than 6 percent to euro2.2 billion
Western Europe saw gas sales decline by 9.2 percent, partly on the substantial fall in value of the British pound, Linde said.
Gas sales in the Americas fell by more than 5 percent, while in eastern Europe and Asia, sales in the first quarter fell by 7.8 percent. Meanwhile in the South Pacific and Africa region, gas sales rose by 4 percent.
Sales in the engineering division also rose 1.3 percent to euro549 million.
Linde said its order backlog for engineering projects fell by about euro350 million to euro4.1 billion, with nearly half of the orders related to air separation plant products.
The company said the oxygen and nitrogen produced at those plants is required by energy companies for oil and gas production, and Linde is working on many of those plant projects in the Middle East.
Shares of Linde were down 1.5 percent at euro61.38 in Frankfurt morning trading.
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On the Net:
http://www.linde.com